Before we left on our long winter trip, we had a number of extra expenses come up -as if the Christmas season isn't expensive enough on its own.
To stretch the budget, we dipped into our stored food. I don't feel bad about doing so. That's one of the things they are there for. Of course, we loaded up the van with a lot of food before we left. That made our camping a bit more affordable. When we got back home, we didn't feel like rushing right out to the store. Instead of shopping, we dipped in the pantry a bit deeper. Our food storage is starting to look thin in places.
We've got plenty of the staples: rice, beans, wheat, spices, and other bulk foods. Nobody is going to go hungry. However, there are things that we depleted a lot quicker than others. Since we were so busy, quick to prepare foods were a high priority. Opening a can, tearing open a package, or rehydrating an instant meal was a lot quicker than preparing dried beans or grinding whole wheat.
In an emergency situation, there might not be time to do a lot of cooking. With that in mind, I'm going to add more of the stuff that we tend to use first. It might not be the cheapest, but in practice, it's what we've ended up eating.
So there's going to be more things like canned salmon. That's something we happen to love, so might as well buy it by the case. In fact, canned meats in general went quickly. They are easy to add to other ingredients to make a hearty meal. The dehydrated meals proved to be a good success, so more of those are on order. Foil packets of instant potatoes went quickly too.
When we were really busy, high protein snack bars often held us over until we could find time to cook. The protein bars stick with us a lot longer than the high carb sugary ones.
Canned fruit and veggies are bulky and heavy, but I'm getting more of them as they were popular. Cans and jars of nuts also were in high demand.
One thing that we don't need a lot more of is candy. While the occasional sweet or chocolate was nice, we really didn't crave it. Opening a can of mandarin oranges provided more than enough sugar.
I have been preparing meals out of the bulk food bins. Many of those meals are quite good. For example: I cooked up a batch of dried black beans. My spicy black bean soup was a real hit the other night. The beans that didn't go in the soup were later used in a beans, rice, peppers and spices dish -also popular. However, in practice, the quick and easy foods are nice for adding variety to the diet. That's why I'm spending the extra bucks and adding much more of them to our storage.
Sure, it's nice to think we'd just live on the cheap and healthy stuff. In practice, we crave more variety and value quickly prepared foods more than we thought.